Michelle Newman Fein ’15
When it comes to fighting for environmental justice and human rights, Michelle Newman Fein does not stand down. In both the United States and South America, she has fought for social and economic justice, immigrant rights and clean water and air. With boundless energy, she strives to ensure that all people are protected from life-threatening environmental and health hazards. Michelle came to Northeastern because of the co-op program. “Each co-op is another step down a path of your own creation.”
“Most of the time, the stakes are long and high in human rights litigation. Housing, community development, the environment and workers rights are all deeply intertwined,” says Michelle, who heads her own law firm, Fein Law, focused on environmental advocacy, and also works closely with legendary environmental lawyer Reed Zars ’86, founder of Environmental Law in the Public Interest.
“My goal is to help shift the often exploitative business models of transnational corporations, to force them to internalize the costs of environmental and human rights violations and instead put our collective habitats and health first,” says Michelle, who specializes in federal environmental citizen lawsuit litigation under environmental laws such as the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.
US District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco, California
On her first co-op, Michelle researched and briefed issues of copyright and patent infringement, civil rights violations and habeas petitions, among others, under the direct supervision of a federal judge.
- American Legal Thought
- Environmental Litigation
- Federal Courts and the Federal System
Unión de Afectado/as por la Petrolera Texaco/Chevron, Quito, Ecuador
Using her fluency in Spanish along with her burgeoning legal skills, Michelle worked on litigation stemming from a human rights and environmental case against Chevron.
- Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Clinic
- Poverty Law and Practice Clinic
Center on Race, Poverty & The Environment, Delano, California
Following her passion for environmental litigation and community organizing, Michelle drafted motions in environmental justice cases, researched state incorporation procedures and met with clients throughout the Central Valley.
In the Legal Skills in Context program, Michelle helped guide 12 first-year students as they developed an interactive website for the nonprofit Rich Coast Project that cataloged land tenure issues facing communities in Costa Rica and worldwide.
Michelle twice competed in the ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition — she was a Boston regional semi-finalist in 2014 and 2015 and won best brief in 2015.
Committee for Public Counsel Services, Roxbury Defenders Unit, Roxbury, Massachusetts
After co-ops focused on civil law, Michelle represented criminal defendants at pretrial hearings in the Roxbury District Court.
- Law Clerk, US Magistrate Judge Evelyn Furse, District of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
- Law Clerk, US District Judge Clark Waddoups, US District Court for the District of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
- John Adams Litigation Fellow, Natural Resources Defense Council, New York, New York